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Busy With Ben!

I’ve been keeping fairly busy since my last blog going to-and-fro between London and home for work, riding out, racing and Cheltenham Festival. I did all four days at the festival which was extremely fun despite Wednesday being a washout.

We took Sir Mangan to Kingston Blount which was a glorious day bathed in sunshine, to run in a hot Men’s Open, to which he finished third. He ran a good race and tried as hard as he always does, but the winner Al Shahir was too good for us on the day. He came out of the race really well and we thought maybe he just may have had too long off from his last run. He may be out this weekend coming at Siddington or Kingston Blount. After racing I rushed back into London with a couple of mates to get to the Durrell Arms pub in London to watch the England vs Wales Six Nations game, which was great craic as England won and some of my mates are welsh.

On the 3rd March I rode Dad’s new purchase Jet Marshall at Taunton in the bumper for Philip Hobbs, where he finished 6th. He absolutely pulled my arms out for a mile and a half, but he dropped the bridle as you would expect however, instead of stopping in a heap, he galloped all the way to the line which was impressive. We were not expecting him to race so keenly as at home he’s been the opposite; it was a great starting point as we didn’t know much about him. Philip has been schooling him at home over the hurdles in which he’s schooled very well. I hear there’s Chepstow or Newbury a week on Saturday for him in a novice hurdle and can’t wait to get back on him.

Saturday 12th March, we took Chameron to Cothleston for the 3m4f Mixed Open. I unfortunately got unseated at the second as he didn’t lift a leg, but miraculously as he always does, he managed to stay on his feet and gallop around the whole distance. He can be quite frustrating! The following day Dad decided to run him again at Buckfastleigh as Sam Loxton said he was A1, but I couldn’t go as had two rides at Guilsborough. When all the other jockeys heard I couldn’t get down there, they were all queuing up asking to ride him, but Martin Mclntyre was the first to ask so he got the ride. Chameron won the Mixed Open. The way the race was run suited him perfectly as they crawled so he could get away with his jumping and then his class allowed him to win. That weekend Chameron galloped six and a half miles and still won by eight or so lengths! So happy for Sam Loxton as he works so hard and thoroughly deserved it.

I had two rides at Guilsborough that same day as Buckfastleigh. I rode Diplomate Sivola in the Mixed Open where he dotted up to win. It was a four-runner field and so I bounced out to make it and never got headed. He jumped class and was just awesome. Full credit to Alan Hill as he said the race and track would suit as he’s been desperate to run him on a flat track, which he was spot on as the track suited him to a tee. Also, huge credit again to Alan and Joe for getting Diplomate into great form.

My final ride of the day was on Majestic Touch. That was his first run for the yard as Dad previously had him with Philip Hobbs under rules. Billy, as we call him, hadn’t run for nearly 18 months so we knew he was probably going to need it. He was our main priority that weekend as we were starting to run out of ground for him and with the last Chaddesly being off he needed to run. Like Jet Marshall, he thought it was all very exciting and raced very keenly for most of the way. He jumped class and loved it. I pulled him up three from home as he got tired understandably and was starting to make mistakes. Full credit to all the Hill team for getting him to the racetrack and especially to Albert Chandler who’s done a brilliant job at home keeping him settled. I’m sure he’ll win a few races and maybe over 2m4f.

Last Sunday we took Tidal flow to Brafield to run in the Men’s Open. Unfortunately, we were the only declaration, so it was a walkover, which is hugely disappointing as we were desperate to run him. He’s now qualified for Aintree, but we will run him this weekend coming and if he runs well then we will go.

Catch up next month!

All images kindly provided by Chasdog Photography

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